Road-rage incident victims say they’re lucky to be alive

Robert Vance

LUTZ, Fla. (WFLA) – Joe Calderazzo says he and his friend, Melanie Milinkovich, were out for a peaceful ride on Calderazzo’s Harley with hundreds of other riders on Memorial Day — however, their calm was shattered in seconds after the pair was knocked off their bike when an angry driver crashed into their bike.

That driver, 31-year-old Robert Vance of Land O’ Lakes, was arrested after the incident. Charges against Vance were upgraded Tuesday night. He is now charged with two counts of attempted murder.

Vance is still charged with leaving the scene of a crash with injury and driving with a suspended license. His bond is $115,000. Florida Highway Patrol troopers classify Vance as a “habitual traffic offender.” He has a lengthy criminal history, including time in prison.

Calderazzo is a Navy veteran and had gone to the Florida National Cemetery to pay respects to fallen veterans.

Robert Paul Vance booking photo (Courtesy Pasco County Sheriff's Office)
Robert Paul Vance booking photo (Courtesy Pasco County Sheriff’s Office)

They were on their way home when they noticed a car weaving in and out of traffic.

“The car is driving erratically, cut off our lead biker; That immediately put us on high alert,” Calderazzo said.

The car sped off after allegedly cutting off that biker but ended up next to Calderazzo and the group at a traffic light on U.S. 41.

Heated words were exchanged. “His window was already down. He immediately started yelling and cursing at us,” Calderazzo said.

Abe Garcia recorded what happened next. The driver of the car backed up and rammed into Calderazzo’s motorcycle, sending him and Milinkovich to the ground.

“I was like, ‘We are lucky to be alive.’ Before it was just like, this guy hit me, then I was mad that I got hit and my bike was messed up. I didn’t know that the car had gone completely over us,” Calderazzo said.

He said he suffered a broken leg. Milinkovich has a sprained ankle and road rash on her leg from where the tire of the car spun on her skin, they said.

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